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Al Fresco August Indulgences
August 3, 2014, 11:01 am
Pea and mint soup

Get ready this August with your skillets, skewers, charcoal and set out for barbeque. Have a stroll around the local market to buy some surprisingly underrated ingredients to make way for a full-flavored and robust colorful meal. Before you head out to your garden, fill your soup cup with this simple soup to set your stomach rumbling while you are at the barbeque.

This soup is as easy as it gets and tastes wonderful  when  served  with  crisp croutons.


1 liter water
Large handful fresh mint leaves
500g fresh peas (shelled weight)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle olive oil
200ml crème fraîche
8 croutons, to serve


Bring the water to the boil in a large pan and add a generous pinch of salt.
Add the mint leaves and bring the liquid back to the boil.
Add the peas and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the peas are just tender and bright green.
Strain the mint and peas, reserving the cooking liquid, and transfer the peas and mint to a food processor. Allow to cool for
3-4 minutes. Add just enough of the cooking liquid to cover the peas and mint, and then blend for 1-2 minutes, to create a smooth, bright green purée.

Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground  black  pepper,  and  then  add  a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Add 140ml of the crème fraîche to the pea and mint purée and pulse in the blender for a few seconds, until combined.
To  serve,  pour  equal  amounts  of  the soup into four warmed bowls. Add a neat tablespoon of crème fraîche into the center of each and, if you wish, garnish with the crisp croutons.
Is there anything that isn’t made better by the smoke and sear of a grill? While these chicken breasts would take their own time to smoke up wonderfully charred, you could put them away baking and have a quick mini starter (Grilled Eggplant and Greens with Spiced Yogurt) for the wait.

Spicy Smoked Chicken 

A marinade guaranteed to make the chicken breasts tender and juicy, this one has a little bit of everything... in just the right proportions. 


1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tbsps ground mustard
2 tps honey
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsps lemon pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


In a large glass bowl, stir together the vinegar, oil, soy sauce, lime juice, lemon juice, mustard, and honey. Mix in the garlic, brown sugar, lemon pepper, oregano, rosemary, and salt. Place the chicken in the mixture. Cover and marinate. Preheat the grill for high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Discard marinade, and place chicken on the grill. Cook 6 to 8 minutes per side, until juices run clear. 

Grilled Eggplant and Greens with Spiced Yogurt

First time grilling your greens? Lay them across the grill grates so they don’t fall through, and be ready to turn them—they char quickly.


2 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise on a diagonal ½”-thick
¾ tsp ground turmeric
6 tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large bunches hardy greens (such as kale or Swiss chard)
½ cup fresh mint leaves
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ tsp curry powder
Lemon wedges (for serving)


Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Toss eggplant with turmeric and 2tbsp oil in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Toss greens with 2tbsp oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Grill eggplant, turning often, until tender and charred in spots, 5–8 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.

Grill greens, turning often, until lightly charred in spots, about 2 minutes; transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Remove thick ribs and stems from greens and discard.

Tear large leaves into large pieces; transfer to bowl with eggplant, add mint and 2tbsp oil, and toss to combine. Mix yogurt and curry powder in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Spoon yogurt onto a platter and top with eggplant, greens, and mint mixture. Drizzle with more oil and serve with lemon wedges.


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